San Antonio is one of the most exciting cities in Texas, and the perfect destination for family trips. However, if you want to have a safe, fun, and happy experience in River City, you’ll need to plan it with care.
This guide will help out. Below, you’ll find some super tips to help you discover the plethora of exciting attractions in the heart of San Antonio as a family.
Leave the Car at Home
One of the first things to do when planning a trip is decide how you’re going to get to your destination. And while it might be tempting to plan a road trip to San Antonio, you’re usually better off leaving your vehicle behind and booking a flight instead.
Downtown San Antonio is highly pedestrianized, with several areas that are completely off-limits for cars. Even in the areas where cars are allowed, narrow streets and bad traffic make this city tricky to traverse, especially if you’re unfamiliar with its layout.
Instead, most visitors should find it much easier to simply walk around or rent bikes with the city’s bike share program. You can reach most of the main attractions on foot and use public transport as needed.
Choosing the Right Time
While summer might seem like the most obvious choice for visiting San Antonio, this city gets really hot in July and August. The heat and humidity can be too much for some, especially when combined with the big crowds of tourists.
So, for a more comfortable experience, you may prefer to visit in one of the colder seasons of spring or fall. Both have milder, gentler conditions, and less visitors, making it easier to get around and see all you want to see.
There also some fun quirks that make spring and fall special in San Antonio. In spring, the city’s green spaces bloom into life, with lots of colorful wildflowers to admire in the surrounding state parks. Meanwhile, in fall, River City hosts a range of fun cultural festivals and creepy Halloween events.
Keep a Close Eye on the Kids
San Antonio is generally a safe, family-friendly destination. But that doesn’t mean it’s risk-free. There are dangers for families to keep in mind, especially in the busy downtown areas, where it’s easy to lose sight of little ones if they let go of your hand.
It’s especially important to keep kids close when enjoying the city’s famous River Walk. There aren’t any safety rails or barriers along large sections of the walk, and visitors may fall into the water if they’re not careful.
Similarly, if you plan to go to San Antonio’s famous Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme park, kids can easily get lost among the crowds. Keep an eye on them and decide on an emergency meeting point in case you get separated.
Enjoy the Main Attractions…
Most visitors to San Antonio have a list of main attractions they definitely want to see during their stay. The River Walk is usually at the top of the list, and it’s totally worth checking out, with beautiful views over the water and lots of great restaurants, shops, and galleries to see along the way.
The Alamo is another must-see. It was here that a bloody battle was waged in 1836, with all of the fort’s Texan defenders battling to their last breath, before eventually being killed. It’s a fascinating historic site, perfect for teaching kids about the Texas Revolution.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas is another surefire hit for families. Famed for its “Scream” drop tower and wild rollercoasters, this theme park also has plenty of attractions for younger visitors too.
…But Don’t Be Afraid to Step off the Beaten Path
The main attractions might take up a large part of your time in San Antonio, but there’s a lot more to this city than the Alamo and the River Walk. It has all sorts of hidden gems buried away in its side streets and exciting treasures to uncover around its outskirts.
Families might like to stop off at Bracken Cave, for example, to see the world’s biggest bat colony take flight during the summer evenings. Alternatively, if your kids are crazy about dinosaurs, try the Joe Johnston hiking trail, where you can see actual dinosaur footprints from millions of years ago.
Other fun and quirky hidden gems in San Antonio include the McNutt Sculpture Garden, with its bronze cowboy statues and the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum. The Hot Wells Hotel is also worth considering. It was once one of the prettiest and grandest spots in the city, but is now left in ruins, with some locals even calling it one of San Antonio’s most haunted locations.
Save Some Cash with Free Museums and Attractions
When traveling as a family, the costs quickly add up. There are extra flight tickets, more meals, bigger hotel rooms, and so on. You might be heading to San Antonio with a limited budget, looking for a few ways to save some cash.
Fortunately, there are lots of ways to save in River City. To start with, you might like to make the most of the city’s free museum days. Several museums, like the San Antonio Museum of Art, offer free entry on select days of the week.
River City also has multiple attractions that are free all-year long. The Alamo is the most famous example, but far from the only one. The Japanese Tea Garden is free to enter, along with Friedrich Wilderness Park, home of hiking trails and rare birds.
Have a Fabulous Family Adventure in San Antonio
Whether your kids love history, wildlife, rollercoasters, or something totally different, you can find it all in San Antonio. It’s a super city to make happy family memories. Just remember to keep these tips in mind and plan out your trip ahead of time to have the very best experience for your family’s budget and tastes.